The Polish Ranger Rides Again

Lima Travel Blog

 › entry 10 of 11 › view all entries
Most of you won't get the title of this post. It harkens back to 16 years ago, a moment of silliness shared by a few friends, some of which are no longer in my life. Those that are, Rob and Kichol, if you are reading this... cheers. Thank you for 17 years of love, tears, fears, friendship and loyalty. It means the whole wide big ass world.

So, Monday morning i found myself leaving Bolivia and heading to San Pedro De Atacama, Chile. My plans had changed, and i was about to embark on a long ass trek back to Lima. Sharing my journey was Marie, a french girl i met on the Salar de Uyuni tour. We were heading in the same direction and were destined to spend the next four days together.
The volcano, Misti, looms over Arequipa.

The immensity of this trip had been bothering me for a few days already. Originally i wanted to head into Argentina and stay in Salta for a week, but i was daunted by the distance i would have to cover in order to return and catch my flight from Lima. Bus transport in South America can be a frustrating and time consuming venture. There is no way to predict when striking miners might close the road, your bus being high jacked by road bandits (yes this happens), if the weather shuts down certain passes, if the bus breaks down, and so on. So you can never be sure you will get to where you are going in the minimal amount of time you think it should take. It is always best to give yourself a safe cushion.  In retrospect i planned my trip rather poorly. What i should have done is booked a return flight out of Buenos Aires instead of the looping around back from whence i had come.
Me, lookin like a douche, with Marie, Liz and Liv.
Live and learn. And i have. Next time no loops.

First stop San Pedro. We spent the day there and caught a night bus bound for Arica, Chile a town at the Peru border. By this point Marie and I had hooked up with a pair of travelers from Holland, Liz and Liv. At 5 am in the morning, after a 9 hour bus trip we were in a cab heading out of Arica, bound for the border. Upon arrival we were told that...the border was closed for another hour. Huh? Apparently Peruvian/Chilean relations are rather poor and the two countries like to spite one another. Cue another long and slightly inconvenient border crossing.

Arica is located on the edge of  the sea board and the ocean was half a kilometer to our left. Liv and i decided we wanted to see the Pacific.
Hopping over a rather strange ditch we set foot on desert sand, the ocean tantalizingly in view. We took a few steps and realized something was not quite right. The ground was very flat, and the sand looked like it had been swept with a broom. A few locals, waiting on the road, began shouting at us in Spanish to come back. Yes, we had been walking right into a mine field. No fence and the warning sign, as we later found, was half a kilometer down the road from us. Slightly embarrassed we climbed back onto the road, much to the amusement of the locals. Silly gringos.

After a rather thorough search by the border guards our next stop was Tacna, Peru. We found the  bus station there and booked a seven hour ride to Arequipa.
Marie taunted me with her ice cream cone.
By the afternoon we were checking into our hostel. After dinner we headed out for some drinks. Liv and Liz had never done shots of whiskey before, so like a good american i began searching for a local bar that served Jameson. My search was futile so we settled for Jack Daniels. This set off a massive chain reaction, an epic drinking binge.  Marie abandoned us to our fates and god knows how much beer along with 7ish shots of all sorts of alcohol later we were stumbling down the street searching for our beds. I don't think i have ever been drunker than that night. God damn those two could drink.

(PS: tequila, whiskey, pisco, vodka, rum and beer do not mix well together. avoid this combination at all costs. a word from the not so wise)

The next day was spent in recovery of the previous night's foolishness.
at the Plaza de Armas Lima
Marie and i bade farewell to our new friends in the evening and caught a 17 hour overnight bus to Lima.

We arrived in Lima at noon, bone tired and intent on seeing  Central Lima that same day. We explored for a few hours, took two bus rides of over an hour each in terrible Lima traffic, and returned to our hostel dead to the world. Sleep was not in my cards tho, and after saying my goodbyes with Marie who was catching a plane to France the next morning i headed out to meet Teresa and Moa  (two awesome girls from my Salkantay trek) for a night on the town.

Let's do a bit of math here - Monday morning Bolivia. 2 hours by bus to San Pedro. Monday night 9 hours by bus to Arica. Tuesday 2 hours in a cab from Arica to Tacna. 7 hours from Tacna to Arequipa. Wednesday night 17 hours from Arequipa to Lima. 37 out of 72 hours on buses. 4 hours drunk out of my skull. 1747 kilometers crossed as the crow flies according to this awesome website.

If i ever complain about waiting for a bus, about a long flight, about bad traffic, shit if i ever complain about anything ever again, please pick up something heavy and bounce it off my skull.

Up next, my final adventure of this trip. A week in Huaraz Peru, seven hours north north east of Lima, base for exploration of the Cordillera Blanca mountain range and some of the most amazing views in South America. I hope to do a day hike, a 4 day trek, and maybe, just maybe, Ayahuasca.

After that I fly out of Lima on June 8th, head home, and start saving money for my return to South America.
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
The volcano, Misti, looms over Are…
The volcano, Misti, looms over Ar…
Me, lookin like a douche, with Mar…
Me, lookin like a douche, with Ma…
Marie taunted me with her ice crea…
Marie taunted me with her ice cre…
at the Plaza de Armas Lima
at the Plaza de Armas Lima
photo by: rsvpme